SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has called on the Executive to develop a more proactive approach in response to the recent increase in racist attacks.
The Mid Ulster MLA was speaking after questioning the Social Development Minister in the Assembly on his department’s policy following a racist attack on a family in Moneymore.
Mr McGlone said, “Led by local SDLP Councillor Christine McFlynn, there was condemnation from all parties of the recent racist attack on a young family in Moneymore. It is part of a worrying trend within our society of increasing numbers of racially motivated incidents and racially motivated crimes.
“According to the PSNI figures, racist incidents rose by 36% in the 12 months to June 2014, from 830 to 1,132. In the same period, racist crimes increased by 51%, from 525 to 796. Whilst most of this increase is concentrated within Belfast, it is clear that such racially motivated attacks are not restricted to that area.
“During Assembly Questions,I took the opportunity to ask the Social Development Minister what his Department is doing, with the Housing Executive and others, to address issues such as the intimidation of the minority and ethnic communities in our society.
“The Minister’s response was sadly lacking in detail. There was no sense of any acceptance at a ministerial level of the need to work proactively to ensure that a strategy is developed to ensure that people are made to feel at home and are accommodated in this part of the world.
“A large number of organisations involved in supporting our ethnic and minority communities recently highlighted the shortcomings of the current racial equality strategy. Responsibility for that racial equality strategy ultimately rests with the Office of the First and deputy First Ministers.
“The SDLP will continue to stick by people from all communities.”